GOP to pay $1.6M of Trump's legal bills in 'highly unusual' move: report
Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. (AFP)

In a "highly unusual" move, the Republican Party has agreed to pay $1.6 million of former president Donald Trump's legal bills stemming from ongoing criminal and civil investigations into his company's business practices in New York.

"The party’s executive committee overwhelmingly approved the payments at a meeting this summer in Nashville, according to four members and others with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting of the executive committee," the Washington Post reported Thursday afternoon. "That means the GOP’s commitment to pay Trump’s personal legal expenses is more than 10 times higher than previously known."

Emma Vaughn, a GOP spokeswoman, said in a statement: “The RNC’s Executive Committee approved paying for certain legal expenses that relate to politically motivated legal proceedings waged against President Trump. As a leader of our party, defending President Trump and his record of achievement is critical to the GOP.”

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Campaign finance experts told the Post there appears to be nothing illegal about the payments.

"Still, paying Trump’s legal bills is a highly unusual move, longtime party observers and members say, because the spending has nothing to do with promoting the GOP’s policy agenda or political priorities, dealing with ongoing party business or campaigning in states — and relates to investigations that are not about Trump’s time as president or his work in the White House," the newspaper reported.

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